While waiting for the promised rush back to our forests and fields of migrating songbirds I made a circuit of Ile-Perrot this morning to see if any remnant waterfowl were about … a really good decision. I will start with the last bird I found.
Usually, I concentrate on the northern shoreline of the island and go up to the windmill. I did that, and will return to the subject shortly, but on a whim I also drove along the southern shore in the direction of Pincourt. Along here the water was very choppy and frankly I didn’t expect to see much … but nothing ventured etc. I got excited at one corner where three Tree Swallows were wheeling over the edge of the water (#55 for the circle-year) and it was, indeed, nice to see that they have come back. Shortly after, I saw a small group of Scaup which, as I had seen many on the northern shore (q.v.) I didn’t bother to stop for until something caught the corner of my eye. Not sure what, but the synapses told me that something out there was not a Scaup. Pulled over, out with the optics, joined by a couple of “let’s play” labrador dogs from the farm I was opposite, and we all three of us realised we were looking at a pair of Red-necked Grebes (#56) though I was jumping up and down about this rather more than they were. There has been some excitement about these rare for the area birds in recent days with unusual numbers being seen over at Chambly but not, as far as I know, quite so accessible to my immediate area out on the West island. Normally these are birds of the center and west of northern Canada and not at all the sort of thing you expect to see around Montreal so these are probably bird of the year for my patch list so far. Their distribution is described thus (quote): “Breeds from Alaska and northern Canada south to Oregon, Idaho, Ontario, and southern Minnesota; rarely east to southern Quebec. Spends winters south along coasts to southern California and Georgia, and rarely to Florida”.
Some photographs, I think:
I have to confess, that My friend Mark did have a couple at the St_Lazare sandpits yesterday so it’s interesting indeed. Why now, why so many? You can see Mark’s photographs here : http://notdennis51.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/in-a-funk/ (amendment … Mark has just told me that I misread his posting and that what he actually said was that he was hoping for some at the pits. Worth reading his post, for all that, so I am leaving the link). Pierre Bannon definitely had one beside Ile des Soeurs two days ago and Alain Robert had one in Laval (eBird), but that’s about it.
And so – back to the north shore and the windmill point … a very large raft of about 400 Scaup was some 200 metres off shore with small groups closer to the edge. A number of DC-Cormorants were cruising about and I found a half dozen Redheads (#53). Later, at the windmill park there was almost nothing on the water but I added the first Great Blue Heron of the year (#54) to the circle-list.
Finishing my tour of the island I returned over the centre road and saw a couple more Tree Swallows over the fields.
A good morning … now, where are those warblers? Coming, coming I trust.